Mickael Barzalona and Salem bin Ghadayer rounded off a successful weekend with their fourth winner by claiming the solitary prize for the thoroughbreds with Ply at the Abu Dhabi racecourse on Sunday.
Barzalona, the France-based Godolphin rider, produced a late challenge to win the handicap run over 2,400 metres from the Doug Watson-trained Ostaad and Ahmad bin Harmash’s Tide Rise.
It was Ply’s first local success after failing to impress when tried on three occasions on the dirt, twice at Meydan and at Jebel Ali.
“He’s won thrice on the All Weather in England but with this result it appears he likes the turf,” said Barzalona, who was onboard once in Ply's previous three local starts.
Barzalona arrived at the capital’s racecourse having won a double, including the Group 2 Firebreak Stakes, at Meydan on Saturday. He also won a US$125,000 (Dh459,000) handicap on Thursday at the same track, all on Bin Ghadayer-trained horses.
“It’s been a good week and obviously a nice feeling when you are successful,” the Frenchman said after winning on his only ride in the seven-race card meeting of which six races were for Purebred Arabians.
Saif Al Balushi, the Omani apprentice atop the Omani trainer Yousif Al Kalbani’s Ghazayel, clinched the Emirates Fillies Classic prize in a successful return to Abu Dhabi.
The chestnut filly by Calin Du Loup, purchased from the UAE as a yearling, had earlier won the Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic on her first visit two months ago.
“That was a similar race and almost the same field with a furlong less to travel. We were quietly confident of her chances,” said Al Balushi, who was on board the filly in her previous victory in Abu Dhabi.
“She travelled well all the way and when I asked for an effort she quickened, as she did when racing for the first time in Abu Dhabi to win quite well at the end.
“We got into a good position early in the race and I knew she has a good turn of foot. When the gaps appeared I moved her out of the rails and she went clear of the field.”
Al Balushi raced along the inside rails and switched Ghazayel to the outside on the 400-metre mark to win by two and three-quarter lengths from the Abdallah Al Hammadi-trained Morjanah Al Reef and Eric Lemartinel’s Ras Esina.
Silvestre De Soysa rode a similar race to take the Emirates Colts Classic on Ernst Oertel’s AF Al Bairaq.
The British champion jockey outclassed Elise Jeanne’s MH Rahal by two-and-a-quarter lengths with stable companion AF Motaghatres under Antonio Fresu, who tried to make all in third.
Al Tiryaq notched up his fourth win in six starts for the season by claiming the Dh125,000 Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Gold Cup, the biggest prize, in the seven-race card.
Sam Hitchcott produced a late run on the Al Hammadi-trained son of Bibi De Carrere to pip Hamza by half-a-length and deny Tadhg O’Shea and Lemartinel, the jockey-trainer combination, from rounding off the evening with a treble.
O’Shea and Lemartinel bagged the first two prizes that were up for grabs with Bainoona and Meydan Du Paon.
It took the Al Asayl Stables trainer’s tally to 33, two behind the leader Doug Watson in the UAE trainer’s championship title race.